Today we celebrate World Mission Sunday. As we do so we take time to give thanks for the gift of faith that we have received and to remember the women and men who went before us and were gracious enough to share their faith with us, so that we might come to know Christ. We think also of the generations who come after us and, just like the old man in the story, take time to reflect on what our legacy in faith will be.
Every year, as we celebrate World Mission Day, Pope Francis draws our attention to the missionary mandate that each of us has personally received through our baptism. In 2019 he wrote “I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love.”
In other words, though our baptism, each one of us shares in the work that Jesus came to share with us. The theme of the Pope’s 2020 message was “Here am I Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). In that message he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah who responded to the Lord’s call with bravery and enthusiasm, just as we are called to respond to the call that we receive in our baptism.
This year, the theme of World Mission Sunday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles and declares “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). In other words, we cannot but speak about our faith. If we have really experience the power of God’s love in our life, how can we keep it to ourselves, surely it just bursts out of us, it is something that we have to share. That is what mission is about! It is about our willingness to share our faith in Christ, and the difference that our faith has made in our life, and to do that in a world where our faith might be ridiculed because so many are blind to God’s presence.
As we celebrate World Mission Sunday what is it in your life that needs to change, do we need to trust in the Lord? Do you need to covercome the voices of those who scorn your faith? Is there something that you need to let go of? Are you willing to share our faith with others? Does your love for Jesus cause you to speak of what you have seen and heard and what Christ means to you?
As we celebrate this Mission Sunday, let us take a moment to look again at how we respond to the Mission that we have been given and how we share the love of Christ in the world.
Dear friends, while we are called to share in the Mission of Christ every day, World Mission Sunday only comes around once a year. On this day, the church around the world unites in solidarity as we recommit ourselves to our common vocation, which comes through Baptism, to be missionaries. Through prayer, formation and charity we can help to change the world.
Wishing you all a blessed Mission Sunday.
Fr, Jeremiah Browne, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in South Afrca, Eswatini and Botswana